Top 10 lessons for the new Mac user

Christopher Breen Senior Editor Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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My hope is that you’ve been directed to this story by a caring friend or relative—so caring, in fact, that their holiday generosity extended to giving you a new Mac.

“Oh my goodness!” you chirped.

“Oh how wonderful!” you crowed.

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Making the most of iMovie's lesser-known features

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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In past iMovie lessons we’ve talked about working with the application’s interface, importing media, constructing a basic movie project, creating trailers, and dealing with iMovie’s more persnickety editing features. It’s time to put a bow on the series by taking note of a few remaining features that you’ll find helpful in your moviemaking.

Adding a time stamp to your movies

Senior contributor Jeff Carlson explained how this was done in the previous version of iMovie. The technique has changed very little. To add a time stamp to your clips, follow along.

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Exploring iMovie's editing options

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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In the past two lessons, I showed you how to piece together a basic iMovie project as well as how to create an iMovie trailer. Helpful as those lessons were, much of iMovie 10’s editing power is hidden. Now it’s time to unearth those features. We’ll start with making more-exacting edits.

The clip trimmer

As you’ve learned, within the timeline you can drag the bottom corners of a clip’s edge to shorten or lengthen the clip (assuming, in the latter case, that you’re not already working with the entire original clip). This is a perfectly reasonable way to trim clips, but in a way you’re working in the dark: You can’t see what precedes or follows the edges of the clip. This is where the clip trimmer comes in.

Stabilization: Two controls appear when you select the Stabilization control—Stabilize Shaky Video and Reduce Rolling Shutter Distortion. And they do what, exactly?

Suppose you’re filming your surroundings with your iPhone while traveling through a nature preserve in a car with poor shocks on a road full of deep potholes. To help reduce the chance that your audience will suffer motion sickness from your movie, it would be nice if you could remove some of the bouncing from your footage. With the Stabilize Shaky Video option, you can. Enable the option, and iMovie will analyze the selected clip, looking for shaky video. When it completes its analysis, it crops the video to cut out the edges, and at the same time it attempts to take the shake out of the remaining frame. The more stabilization you apply (from 0 to 100 percent), the greater the crop will likely be.

Rolling shutter is a distortion effect that you can get when certain kinds of camera sensors are tasked with capturing a lot of movement or subjected to some varieties of pulsing or flickering light. iMovie will attempt to remove this effect when you enable the Fix Rolling Shutter option. You can choose how much of the option to apply—Low, Medium, High, or Extra High. If you notice the problem, start with Low and work your way up if the currently selected setting doesn’t improve your movie. (Undo the last setting by clicking the Undo arrow icon to the right, and then try the next highest setting.)

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How to create iMovie 10 trailers

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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In our last lesson we looked at building a straightforward iMovie project—the kind of movie you might throw together of the family gathered over a holiday meal or, in warmer times of the year, frolicking in the gush of an untended hydrant. Such movies allow you to piece together as much material as you like, which can be great if you’re the creator of Star Wars 4 – 6 Legomania! and less terrific if you’re the poor sap subjected to 90 full minutes of Baby’s First Bath!

Fortunately, iMovie 10 also offers you a way to create videos that are necessarily limited to a running time of just over or under a minute. They’re called trailers and, like the countless movie trailers we’ve seen in theaters and appended to DVDs, are heavily templated. Here’s how they work.

Previewing the trailers

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Constructing an iMovie project

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Given the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States and all that comes with it, in the near future many of you are likely to be launching a copy of iMovie to piece together movies of family and friends. For this reason, we’ll skip many of the finer points in our “Getting Started With iMovie 10” series and move directly to creating a straightforward iMovie project.

You’re familiar with iMovie’s interface, and you know how to import media. Now it’s a matter of placing the media you want in the timeline, adding transitions and titles, and exporting the resulting movie to a form that other people can view.

Creating a movie and adding clips

Adding background music

You’ll be amazed at how a five-minute video of little Buster and his pal Jeanie soaking each other in the kiddie pool becomes less tedious when it’s accompanied by a toe-tapping musical track. To add one, choose iTunes under the Content Library heading (or press Command-4). As with transitions and titles, you’ll see the contents of your iTunes library in the Browser pane. Drag a track that you’d like to use as background music into the music track that appears below iMovie’s timeline (the one marked with musical notes).

Make your movie more interesting by adding background music.
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